Two Heritage Foundation scholars say the 1998 Obey amendment that prohibited export of the F-22 Raptor as a means to protect its advanced technology is based on “outdated thinking.” Mackenzie Eaglen and Eric Sayers write in a July 13 WebMemo that America’s Asian allies are “alarmed” by China’s growing defense budget and its military technological advances and developing an export version of the F-22 to sell to these key allies would “help reinforce America’s hedging strategy” in the Pacific region. They advocate rescinding the Obey amendment, purchase 20 additional F-22s to enable the production to remain open, and study the feasibility and cost of an export variant. They suggest going beyond considering just Japan, which the House version of the 2010 defense policy bill singles out, as potential buyers to include Australia (whose interest has waned) and South Korea in the Pacific and potential other nations, perhaps Israel, to help lower the cost.
NASA, SpaceX, and United Launch Alliance are all preparing to launch their next-gen rockets from Florida’s Space Coast, two of them before the year is out. One is expected to liberate the U.S. launch enterprise from its reliance on Russian-made RD-180 engines, while all three rockets could eventually carry astronaut crews.